A Dell-backed initiative that involves refurbishing old PCs for use by new owners has received donations of more than 450 computers since its launch last year.
The Reusable Technology (RT) Centre programme is a partnership between the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC), US charity the National Christina Foundation and Irish disabled support group the Centre for Independent Living (CIL). Since its launch at Blanchardstown IT, Dublin in January 2004, the RT Centre has opened a second operation at a CRC site in Raheen, Limerick, which has helped increase access for donors and potential recipients in the mid-west region.
In its first year of operation, the RT Centre has donated 200 reconditioned machines to 23 recipient non-profit and community groups from all across the country. A further 250 are currently being refurbished and will be matched with recipients. Beneficiaries to date include Peace Child Ireland, Carlow Centre for Independent Living, Dublin Christian Mission, Wicklow Enterprise Centre, Dysart National School, St Gabriel’s Special School, Limerick, Central Remedial Clinic Limerick and the National Wheelchair Association.
Dell has partnered with the RT Centre since its inception and facilitates the donation of computer technology by its customers through the Dell Irish website at www.dell.ie/donate. The company also donates a percentage of its own used computers directly to the RT Centre each month, contributing significantly to the total volume collected in the first year. Dell has donated 366 computers and 150 monitors to date.
Dr Ger Craddock of the RT Centre said: “We are delighted with the progress we have made in our first year of operation with the volumes received and donated far exceeding our initial targets. Computers that no longer meet your requirements can be of huge benefit to non-profit organisations, allowing them to access technology that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. We would urge everyone to consider reuse as an option rather than disposal. Not only is this the environmentally friendly option but it will also provide a much-needed resource to community groups.”
Annette Condon, head of corporate affairs, Dell Ireland, added: “We are delighted with the success of the initiative and would encourage other companies to consider the growing range of recycling and donation options available when they are refreshing their company computers.
“In Dell, we have a global environment policy which states that ‘No computer should go to waste’. As a result we aim to provide all Dell customers and owners of computer technology with responsible ways to reuse and recycle their equipment at the end of a product’s useful life.”
The RT Centre has also confirmed that it is the first official Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher (MAR) to be appointed in Ireland. Through the MAR programme, the RT Centre is authorised to facilitate the licensing of operating systems on the reused PCs at no cost to the recipient organisation thus substantially increasing the value of the donation to the non-profit groups.
While Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown currently refurbishes all the PCs in the programme, it is hoped to secure the involvement of other Irish universities and institutes of technology nationwide in the coming months.
By Brian Skelly